Sunday, September 10, 2023

Bursting Bubbles

Sometimes it is other people's behaviour that reminds you that you should hold back your opinions or ask for context when in similar situations. 
In the first week of October, Highflyer and I are going away on a weekend break (4 nights) to an island where neither of has has ever been, but we've heard only positive things about. We are both excited to extend the summer and catch some some before the grey months and short days set in and so I did quite a lot of research to find the best location and hotel, reading reviews and taking recommendations of people who had recently been there. It's our wedding anniversary gift to one another (he got the flights, I booked the hotel) and we'd already been looking forward to it, drooling over the pictures of the fancy adults-only 5* hotel I booked.
Last week we had dinner with friends, a married couple, who live abroad and somehow the conversation got to our holiday destination and the husband casually mentioned that his wife (a well-travelled flight-attendant) used to live there. She pricked up her ears and I asked her when that was as I didn't know that. She said that this was basically "in another life" as in more than 25 years ago. Inevitably, she asked which part of the island we were staying at. When I told her (I was prepared to add that it was only a short trip with the focus on "beach") she just said "Ugh, that is THE part I would personally never visit. Seriously, like all other parts, but not there. Well, at least it's relatively close to the airport" Husband looked mildly embarrassed while she went on to add that there were waaay better beaches elsewhere and a lot of British tourists there. Obviously, I was aware that this area was popular with Brits, but having done my "homework" had made sure not to book a tourist trap all inclusive resort or any such thing. I was taken aback and said that we didn't intend to rent a car, but I was sure we could visit places with public transport (again, I had looked online) for her to categorically say that you could do nothing without a car there. I fully understand that you get passionate about places you know well and look down on tourists who might not see your personal highlight, but I was really taken aback and changed the topic as I might have become sarcastic and  reminded her that she had just said that she had lived there more than 2 decades ago and public transport and other things might have improved considerably. 
It really bugged me and on the way home afterwards felt I had to justify myself to Highflyer that the hotel and area I had hyped him up about really were nice and I had done my research as she had basically dismissed everything with one sentence and made our romantic getaway look cheap and clichéd. Could have happened to anyone, so note to self: do ask for a bit of context and perhaps hold back your strong opinions as you might burst someone's bubble and make them look stupid. 
It's a bit like when at work, I am still sometimes asked about my former employer "How did the Firm handle this?" "Do you have any best practices from the Firm" and I always add the disclaimer that I'm happy to tell them what I experienced, but that my "insider knowledge" is 6 years old by know and may not be valid at all any more.


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